Sunday, June 8, 2008

That was the week that was. (**WARNING: INCREDIBLY LONG**)

Wow, it's been QUITE an eventful week-and-a-half or so. Where to begin? Betsy's dance recital is as good a place as any. She looked adorable and did a great job dancing. Here's Betsy in full hair and makeup:

I was honestly only planning to do the whole swipe-of-blush-and-some-lipgloss thing but Betsy was WAY into the cosmetics and I was having so much fun applying it, that we just kept going. She even let me put mascara on her! I don't think I mastered mascara until I was about sixteen. There was a big thunderstorm the Friday night before, and when we got down to the church where the recital being held, there was NO POWER! No lights, no sound system, no A/C. But the show, as they say, must go on and the kids were all totally adorable. The lady who runs the dance place (it's not really a 'studio' because there's no physical location for it) was putting on THREE recitals that day, Betsy was in the last one. And she was such a trouper about it! I can only imagine how hot and sweaty this poor woman must have been, but she just kept on smiling and got her little dancers in and out as quickly as possible.

Sunday morning, my parents and li'l sisters came up (they were doing an extended roadtrip and had been in Bloomington visiting the adorable Miles. And his parents. Whatever.) and Dad came to church with us and helped bless Amy. She wore the same dress I had for my christening 28 years ago. And she was awake for the whole thing yet didn't cry.

Also, can I brag on the dress I'm wearing in that photo? I got it at Goodwill for TWO-FIFTY. The hem was all busted out but I just fixed it up (I wish I had a sewing machine with a blindhem stitch, but for a two-fifty dress I'll do it by hand).

My mother brought her serger, because she is not allowed to visit without it, so on Sunday after dinner we knocked out this dress in a matter of, like, an hour and a half.

It hasn't been hemmed yet, but I don't think I'll really wear it until fall so that's fine. When we were done with the sewing and the little kids were in bed, the rest of us played a rousing game of Cranium Turbo, which was so much fun that we played it every night that they were here.

Monday morning we cracked open the paint. I had already purchased ten gallons of paint (our realtor chose the color; the good people at Olympic call it 'Drifting Dunes' but if you ask me it's beige) and a whole lot of rollers so we got going on that. I had already done the master bath and my goal was to get the downstairs done while Dad was here; it's all the more time-consuming because of needing two coats on everything. But with Matt and my dad and I working on it, the task wasn't so bad. Mom delegated herself the role of baby-holding (it's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it). The girls were invaluable in keeping Betsy and Porter occupied.

Betsy had a birthday party to go to on Monday afternoon so I knocked off early and washed the paint off myself. And after dinner Mom and I went down to Hancock Fabrics because they don't have them in Rochester but we do, neener neener neener. I saw the coolest 'Nerds Rule' fabric and next time I have a coupon for Hancock, I'm going to buy yards and yards of it and make something - anything - to wear out of it.

Oh, and while I was getting ready to take Betsy to the birthday party on Monday, someone called and offered Matt a job. Yes, you read that right. Someone called and offered Matt a job. A job! A job in Indiana! Can you guess if we were excited about that little development? Hmm? It's not the best job ever - the insurance premiums are pretty high, for one - but it's better than a lot of the stuff he's been interviewing for lately, and it's a job, and it's in Indiana.

Right. Excitement. And that was only Monday.

Tuesday was more painting - kitchen and downstairs powder room - and I had my last tutoring session for the school year and also Steak 'n Shake. And also a laboratory staffing agency I've been working with called up and offered me a job to work in the lab at a food processing place for six weeks. They didn't even need to interview, they just wanted the agency to send people. It was second shift, which sounded pretty good to me, so once I had some babysitting lined up I said sure, I'll go for it. The position was starting on Thursday. So, after my family members left Wednesday morning (waaaaah) I spent the rest of the day doing laundry and focusing on things like getting Amy to drink from a bottle. It turns out that Her Royal Highness will only drink a warm bottle, so it's a lucky thing that I picked up a nifty bottle warmer at the neighborhood garage sale the weekend before.

My dad apparently brought the good job karma because within two days Matt and I were both offered jobs and also our next door neighbor was spared the axe when his company announced layoffs. So that's always good.

Thursday morning I got up bright and early to start my new job. And how was my foray into the workplace after a six year hiatus? Brief. The job was supposed to be a lab position, but after we got there and sat around for a while and someone finally figured out what to do with us, they decided that they didn't need anyone in the lab but they could use us on the production floor. Now, I worked a job like that when I was in college and it wasn't so bad (the college job was in the dark; this place has the lights on but is also only about fifty degrees) but if I am leaving my kids with a sitter and driving halfway around town, I want to be doing actual lab work. So I called up the lady at the agency, and I talked with the supervisors at ConAgra, and I ended up leaving before it was even lunch time so that they could hire someone else and not waste any time training me. I was very apologetic but the lady at LabSupport said these things happen, and it was obviously just a miscommunication, and also I got to see how Redi Wip is made, so no harm, no foul. Actually, I thought it was pretty amusing that I was in a dairy products factory. Especially when I saw the swinging doors labeled 'Milk Room.'

So, I'm still looking, but only if I find a job I really like and I can work out some good childcare. Of course when I started looking Matt wasn't employed (technically he still isn't - he starts on Tuesday) so childcare wasn't so much of an issue. But, I think the extra income would help a lot, since Matt's new job is sales, it's largely commission-based and it will take at least a few months to get established. And I wouldn't mind taking a short break from all the screaming (does that make me a bad mother? Probably.)

Friday morning I took Chubby McThunderthighs for her two-month checkup. Thirteen pounds. She got three shots and also a vaccine given orally, which is nice. I always feel bad letting the nice nurses jab needles into my baby, because I know how much it's going to hurt and she doesn't and there's not a darn thing I can do about it. But, I like to think Amy's going to thank me one day when she doesn't get diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, hepatitis, or... there's gotta be a few others I'm forgetting. You're welcome, Cutie Pie.

After the dreaded jabs it took some nice warm milk to calm Amy down, and then I was off to a job interview. This time it really was for a lab position; I know because I saw the lab, and what a pretty little lab it is indeed. The place seems to combine all of the things I liked about my old, pre-kids job (small lab = opportunities to do lots of different analyses) and none of the things I didn't (sample prep, sample prep, sample prep). I had a nice chat with the lady who runs the lab and also saw the production floor. I should have kept the earplugs, since certain people snore.

After the job interview - this is still Friday morning, mind you - I went home and we loaded up the van for a little trip out of town. See, we had always promised ourselves that once Matt found another job, we'd take at least a mini-vacation, a nice little break sandwiched between the stress of being unemployed and the stress of starting a new position. Our first thought was Holiday World but we didn't like the idea of two-month-old Amy in ninety-degree heat (and good thing we didn't, because parts of I-65 ended up getting closed down because of the flooding). Then we though maybe Chicago, because Chicago's always fun. We were planning on going to the Shedd Aquarium and IKEA, and then one of us realized that there's an aquarium in Cincinnati too, and they just had an IKEA open up earlier this year, and Cincinnati is a lot closer and cheaper and there's less traffic and fewer tolls, so the decision was made.

It was just a quick overnight trip, but it was a whole lot better than nothing. The kids were pretty good on the trip down, due to the fact that we bought a car DVD system with two screens a couple of years back. Best $200 I ever spent. We had some ice cream while waiting for the family hours to start, because after 4:30 kids get in free, and we are all about saving the money. Also I was slightly putting it off.

As anyone who knows me even slightly could probably tell you, I am deeply creeped out by aquariums. It didn't used to be that way - I think it's even been within the last few years. The worst are places where you are mostly or entirely surrounded by water, like the Dolphin Dome here, or the tunnels full of freakin' sharks that some genius thought to put in the Newport Aquarium. Now, the building is set up in such a way that you can't really bypass anything; you have to see it all, and there's a bunch of tunnels. The first few are only six or eight feet long and they are populated with smaller fish and fish-type things - at least, I think they are, I didn't look. So what you do is, you wait until there's a clear shot to the other side, and you keep your head down, and you walk through as quickly as possible. But towards the end of the building you get to the two longer Tunnels of Death (with a helpful Room of Jellyfish in the middle, so you can regroup.) They are a lot longer, so no matter how fast you walk, somebody is bound to step in front of you and inconsiderately begin viewing the sharks. And the eyes-to-the-floor strategy fails miserably here because these same design geniuses put Plexiglass panels into the floor! So there is NOWHERE SAFE TO LOOK! You are completely surrounded by water and by animals that can eat you, and your only hope is to get through as quickly as possible while Matt and the kids linger behind and you finally find someplace safe to sit down and not look at or think about anything.

Go ahead, laugh at me and my stupid phobia.

Are you done now? Can we go on?


The Frog Bog exhibit was pretty nice, because frogs are tiny and amphibious and they don't have teeth and can't swallow you or one of your children. Betsy said the black frog was her favorite.

I hope that someday my children realize the sacrifices that I make for them as a parent. It wasn't enough that I carried them for nine months, or that I suckled them for nourishment, or that I, you know, sacrificed my looks and my career and my mental health and my dignity. Nope, I love my kids so much I even walked through shark tunnels for them.

Anyway, once that terror was over we went for dinner. Do you know how funny it is that there's a seafood restaurant directly across from the aquarium? I don't like seafood a whole lot but Matt does, so I told him we could eat there if he wanted to but in the end we opted for something a little more crayon-heavy. And it was still light out and the weather had cooled down considerably and there was a nice breeze from the river so we walked around for a while.

We even ran into some missionaries - Betsy showed them her CTR ring which she wears backwards at all times. After a while Betsy got antsy to go to the hotel - I have no idea why, it wasn't anything special, it was the EconoLodge in Erlanger, Kentucky actually. But she threw a pebble into the 'pond' (um, the Ohio River) and wished that we would go to the hotel. I guess it's just the novelty of sleeping someplace different. Not that I got much sleep because I ended up sharing a bed with Porter, and he's a kicker.

We got up nice and early on Saturday morning - too early, as it turned out; we were at IKEA before they even opened. So we drove around the extremely shiny suburb of West Chester for a while and let the kids watch Charlie and Lola. Eventually we got into the store. We didn't really need anything major - no bunk beds this time - so we were mainly there because I like the store. (And hey, I walked through The Carnivorous Tunnels Of Doom, I think I deserve some reasonably priced home accessories.) I did get some nifty organizational thingies for the kitchen; I'll post a picture after we put them up.

The other fun thing about IKEA is that they have a nice little cafe right inside the store. Matt had the Swedish meatballs, which are delicious. I had gravlax, which seems to be the Swedish version of sushi. It wasn't my favorite, but it's always nice to try something new. Also in the Swedish Marketplace I got some Dubbla Chokladflarn. They are cookies that taste like chocolate covered Cheerios, yet disturbingly good.

It only rained a little bit on the way home, and we got back in time for the neighborhood pizza party, which meant I didn't have to cook dinner. Hooray! Also, that was when we found out about the huge, massive rainstorms that swept through southern Indiana and flooded the roads and shut down the interstates. I don't think there was too much damage up here, but a lot of counties have been declared disaster areas and everything.

And... now it's Sunday again. (You wouldn't believe how long it's taken me to type this whole thing out.) Went to church, went to choir practice, had dinner, went for a walk with the kids. Tomorrow will be busy, because it's Matt's last day before he starts working again (too bad we couldn't really enjoy the last four months, stressed out as we were). But I don't think it will be as crazy as this week has been. And I promise (hand over heart) not to write a blog post as long as this one again.

7 witty remarks on "That was the week that was. (**WARNING: INCREDIBLY LONG**)"

Anonymous said...

a good post, if ling, but i do have a question. WHY ON EARTH WOULD ANYONE WANT TO PAINT A ROOM THE COLOR OF "DRIFTING DUNES"?!? what was going through the realtor's mind??? clearly, they have never been in a real desert. so they realize that theres NOTHING OUT THERE??? ohh, silly people...i think you are better for calling it beige.
betsy looks quite adorable all dressed up, by the way. glad to hear that both you and matt have found employment, as money comes in downright useful these days (whoda thunk?). its good to see that things are coming together as well as they are, and i hope they continue to do so.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the visit.
Hope you don't get flooded out.
Very nice update.

Catherine on 2:15 PM said...

I like your long posts. They make up for all the posts that are so short they are invisible.

Your children are, as ever, charming to behold. I partly wish I'd been able to help y'all paint, but then maybe that would have been too many people underfoot. But perhaps I could finagle a visit with you guys sometime this year, when you get settled down with your jobs and all that. It would be jolly to see my nieces and nephew before they hit puberty.

Anonymous said...

I'm with cath; I like your novels. And that game was OOBER fun!( though every team I was on, we lost.) Oh and don't forget to give me credit for helping with the bathroom. AND Joni, next time you see your realtor, ask him why he wanted to make it sound as though you were smearing your sand-box on your walls. I like your dress even though I couldn't go into the kitchen for a while because Betsy would follow and you and mom didn't want Betsy touching sharp things that could kill her. (pant,pant) And Joni, I like the make-up you put on Betsy, it was ALSO haute couture. I hope you liked your vacation, I hope so did Pi,(even though she probably didn't care). And one last thing: WHATS WITH ALL THE HAUKU?? ......... oh yeah, we are the Blinns.

CyndiAKADisneyqueen on 7:44 PM said...

Good gracious girl, you have been busy! I may have to go back and read the post again but I loved the update.

Mandy's Blogspot on 9:06 PM said...

congrats, matt on a new career! and good luck with job interviews and such.

::job vibes::

Anonymous said...

Call me a guy, if you insist -- I'm really the girl in my marriage, what with the shoes and all -- but where is Matt's new job?? As fascinated as I am with your obscure phobia of sharks and all.

Congrats, Matt! And you too, Joni, on the interview. Glad to see you're getting your chem on. If there's one thing I learned in my years of shoe sales and forklift driving, it's that people who let expensive university educations lay idle for years are worthy of ridicule.

Good luck to both of you.


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